The Strategic Role of Visuals and Cultural Appeals in Help-Support Campaigns: Engaging Chinese Immigrants in Depression Communication on Social Media

Accepted for presentation at the International Communication Association (ICA) Conference, Health Communication Division, May 21-25, 2020, Gold Coast, Australia.

Accepted for presentation at the International Communication Association (ICA) Conference, Health Communication Division, May 21-25, 2020, Gold Coast, Australia.

Abstract: This study investigated the effect of different framing, visual, and cultural appeal strategies, embedded in a depression-campaign post on Facebook, on Chinese immigrants’ cognitive and affective responses to the post and their intention to provide help and support for individuals who suffer from depression. A 2 (framing: gain vs. loss) x 2 (visuals: a photograph of real people vs. a cartoon graphic) x 2 (cultural appeal: with long-term reward vs. without long-term reward) between-subjects online experiment with conducted using a representative sample of 304 Chinese immigrants in the United States. Results show: 1) using a photo of real people directly contributed to participants’ increased intention to provide support and their self-efficacy in identifying depression among themselves; 2) using a photo of real people without long-term cultural appeal led to higher loving emotional responses; 3) loving emotion and self-efficacy in identifying depression among themselves were sequential mediators for the effect of using a photo of real people without long-term reward on intention to provide support. This study provides insights into advancing health communication research by integrating cultural psychology theory in health promotion among immigrants and offer strategic recommendations for designing effective depression help-support campaigns on social media.

Yan Jin 

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